Happy New Year 2013!
Too often, we think we should be silent about what we are going through because of the concern of embarrassment and gossip. We suffer in silence because of pride and shame and because we were brought up not to share our personal business so, we die lonely, hurt, sad and in pain of holding in our suffering. I too was embarrassed.... but, I spoke out anyway, I had no choice.
This June will be my 10th year Cancer-versary and for those not familiar, it is the anniversary for which I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was asked why it still matters to me about colon cancer? Why does it matter to me that I still raise awareness? Why does it matter if others get screened or not? My answer was simply "It makes a difference". The memory of cancer never leaves you; it doesn't matter if the doctor says your cured...every lump, every pain and twinge you feel will bring your mind to "it's cancer".
It was a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., that really solidified why I cared so much besides the affect it would have on my family. Walking through the museum, I saw pictures of families, films constantly going about various events, plaques on the walls with famous quotes and poems and so much more.
There was a poem from Pastor Martin Niemoeller that just stuck out to me, it was an "ah ha" moment.
DISCLAIMER: My apologies to anyone who finds my reference to the Holocaust offensive, it is meant to be a reference for the source of my information and in no way am I comparing cancer to the Holocaust.
In Nazi Germany, Pastor Martin Niemoeller who was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor wrote a famous poem. It has seen many versions, but the pastor wrote it to reflect the culmination of the Nazi advancement. The following is most widely accepted as the poem he wrote:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
He wrote this to reflect that his inactions, and the inactions of others, led to their own “undoing.” Many people saw what was happening, but never thought it would lead to mass extermination.
Imagine where we would be if no one spoke out about anything. Why do I do what I do? It Makes a Difference!
Even after I am long gone, I hope my story helped someone survive cancer; I hope my advocating helped someone find the fight in themselves, I hope my awareness makes people realize it can happen to anyone, and I hope my Calling on Congress will help change the guidelines for cancer research and screenings for early detection of cancer and other diseases.
I encourage you to make a difference in the lives of others, tell your story! Be Blessed!